For many of us, snuggling up and cuddling our pets is a common and beloved practice. However, for those having to manage their asthma or allergies every day, living with a furry friend can be a less than perfect partnership. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, as many as three in 10 people with allergies have allergic reactions to cats and dogs. Still, even with these troublesome symptoms, there are those who try to make it work.
Considering how beneficial an animal companion can be to a person’s mental and physical health, along with them just being so darn cute, it’s not hard to understand why people would want a pet in their life. Furthermore, as the COVID-19 pandemic situation continues to escalate, it’s an important time to have some sort of companionship.
With so much isolation away from loved ones, classmates, and general normalcy, a pet can be a much-needed break from the loneliness. For those with asthma and allergies though, adopting a new pet can be a perceived deal-break — but what if it doesn’t have to be?
Learn some new tricks
One of the small things pet owners get to enjoy is cuddling up with their pet on the couch or in bed each day. And as science tells us, petting, hugging, and holding our pets is beneficial to both humans and furry companions alike. That said, a common symptom that arises with pet allergies is puffy, swollen, and itchy eyes. This can be a serious issue when it comes to being affectionate with pets, particularly if you’re a contact-lenses wearer.
Constantly dealing with irritated eyes is not only annoying and sometimes even painful, they can also interfere with everyday tasks such as driving to the grocery store, working, or watching your favorite TV series. And, wearing contact lenses on top of that, it can feel impossible to get close to your pet. To remedy this, here are some fairly simple ways to battle allergies with contact lenses:
- Eye drops: Talk to your optometrist about ordering some decongestant or anti-inflammatory eye drops. They can reduce redness and stop the itchiness that often comes from cuddling your pet.
- Clean well and often: From your hands to your clothes, to your contacts, regularly washing and cleaning can do a lot to reduce pet-allergy symptoms, including irritated eyes.
- Daily contacts: Another option to consider is switching to daily disposable contact lenses. SInce you use these only once, the likelihood of allergy build-up on your lenses is less likely.
Focus on your eyes
With most allergy symptoms affecting the eyes, it’s worth taking a few extra steps to ensure you can enjoy cuddle time with your pet. Moreover, if this problem has been holding you back from finally taking the plunge into pet-parenthood, with a few changes to your contact lens routine you can finally add that new member to your family.
Having asthma presents a set of different problems and risks when it comes to pets. A person can also have pet allergies on top of their asthma.
This may result in a higher risk of an asthma attack or developing chronic asthma as pet allergens easily (and quickly) spread throughout our homes, landing on surfaces, clothes, and even walls and floors. However, this doesn’t mean becoming a pet owner is completely off the table for those with asthma.
Proceed with caution
Depending on the severity of your asthma, you might need to opt for a non-traditional pet that doesn’t leave behind or drag in a lot of dander and other allergens. Frogs, fish, turtles, lizards, and hermit crabs are all equally wonderful pets that are also more asthma-friendly. Of course, always do a trial run to see how you react to your new pet and consult with your doctor beforehand to avoid serious complications.
For those with milder asthma, visiting an allergist or immunologist can be one helpful option if you do really want a dog, cat, or bird. There are medications and allergy shots available these days that can help desensitize you to typical allergy symptoms. Also, as much as you and your furry companion may want to snuggle, keeping them off of common sitting areas, as well as your bed, will help reduce your contact with allergens. Instead, treat your pet to their very own irresistible, comfy, warm bed to enjoy on movie night.
Don’t give up hope
With COVID-19 turning this year into one full of worry, stress, and loss, it’s been a rather challenging time for millions of people. As any current pet owner will likely tell you though, their furry companion has helped stave off things like loneliness during such a strange and unprecedented time. It makes sense — pets can be one useful strategy to combat depression-induced loneliness and isolation.
While COVID-19 may have made it so we can no longer safely hug our friends and family, cuddling our pets can fill that empty physical contact void and improve our mood as we continue weathering this storm. However, for those with asthma and allergies, making the move towards pet ownership is a bit more complicated.
It’s important to always put your health first, but keep in mind, having allergies and asthma does not always mean a pet is completely off the table. With the right tricks and precautions in place, along with help from a trusted medical professional, you can still invite a fuzzy, loving, and lifelong friend into your home.